DkIT President, Michael Mulvey PhD with newly appointed Athena SWAN Project Coordinator at DkIT Ciara O’Shea
Dundalk Institute of Technology has begun its preparations to submit an application for the Athena SWAN Bronze Award, which is the gender quality benchmark - to the Advance Higher Education’s (HE) Gender Equality Charters Team.
The submission is an institution-wide initiative led by the Research Office at DkIT. In March the Institute appointed an Athena SWAN project co-ordinator, Ciara O’Shea who will coordinate efforts on behalf of the Institute.
The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.
In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.
Speaking today, DkIT President, Michael Mulvey, Phd said: “The Athena SWAN Charter demonstrates commitment to gender equality and excellent working practices. Inclusive employers are able to recruit from the widest possible pool while well-supported staff are more likely to choose stay with DkIT, regardless of their gender. We hope Athena SWAN will bring about a long term culture change that will benefit all staff.”
The Athena SWAN Bronze award recognises a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias and developing an inclusive culture that values all staff.
- an assessment of gender equality in the institution, including quantitative (staff data) and qualitative (policies, practices, systems and arrangements) evidence, and identifying both challenges and opportunities.
- a four-year plan that builds on this assessment, information on activities that are already in place and what has been learned from these.
- the development of an organisational structure, including a self-assessment team, to carry proposed actions forward.
Athena SWAN accreditation will also support DkIT’s position as a high-performing institute in respect of research output. Research councils are increasingly recognising the value of equality and diversity in higher education. Higher education institutions will be required to have secured the minimum Athena SWAN gender equality accreditation by the end of 2019 in order to be eligible to compete for research funding.